Deputy: Roads Ministry built 980km of railroad in three years
Domestic Economy Desk
The Iranian Ministry of Roads and Urban Development constructed 980 kilometers of railroad during the past three years, with $4.28 million in investments, said a deputy minister.
Kheirollah Khademi, the deputy roads and urban development minister, added on Monday that the length of the country’s mainlines currently stands at 11,000 kilometers, IRNA reported.
Also the CEO of the ministry-affiliated Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, Khademi noted that Iran’s railroad network, including the branch lines and double-track railways, is 14,000 kilometers long, saying his firm also plans to build 9,500 kilometers of new rail lines in the country, of which 3,300 kilometers, constituting 30 percent of the country’s tracks, are already under construction.
Khademi said his company prioritized construction of 980 kilometers of the planned 9,500 kilometers rail lines, which included rail links to Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and the capitals of five provinces of Hamedan (western Iran), Kermanshah (western Iran), West Azarbaijan (northwestern Iran), Gilan (northern Iran) and East Azarbaijan (northwestern Iran), and connected the five provincial capitals to the national network in the past three years in separate ceremonies attended by President Hassan Rouhani.
To connect the capital of East Azarbaijan Province to the national network through a new rail route, he added, construction of a railway connecting Mianeh, Boostan Abad and Tabriz in northwestern Iran was placed in the company’s agenda.
The railway from Mianeh to Boostan Abad has become operational, Khademi said, noting that construction of the remaining part of the railway to Tabriz, with a length of 44 kilometers, is expected to be completed by March 2021, if financial resources are allocated.
Investment needed for modification of refineries: Zanganeh
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said modification and improvement of the country’s refineries needs $10 billion of investment.
The minister made the remarks in an open session of Parliament on Monday, answering a question about supplying low-sulfur fuel for Iranian vessels, IRNA reported.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced new regulations to reduce air pollution resulting from the use of high-sulfur fuels by vessels.
Based on the new regulations, sulfur will be cut drastically from global shipping transport fuels in 2020.
As of January 1, 2020, ships have been allowed to use only fuel oil with very low sulfur content, under rules by the International Maritime Organization. This cut in sulfur content has been more than a decade in the planning, and almost all shipping around the world is expected to comply, or face penalties.
However, the minister said that the plan for modification of refineries so that they can produce low-sulfur fuel is currently underway in the Abadan Refinery, in southwestern Iran, the plan was halted in the Isfahan Refinery.
Project manager: 2.2m hectares of Iran’s farmlands using modern irrigation systems
Domestic Economy Desk
A total of 2.2 million hectares of Iran’s farmlands have been equipped with modern irrigation systems since the beginning of a plan by the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad to this end, said the manager of the project.
In an address to a press conference on Monday, Abbas Zare added that according to statistics, 7.8 million hectares of Iranian irrigated lands are under cultivation, of which 3.2 million hectares are bottomlands and 5.5 million hectares are traditional farmlands, IRNA reported.
He noted that of this figure, two million hectares of farmlands and 200,000 hectares of modern lands have been equipped with modern irrigation systems, adding that the project is currently underway in close to 130,000 hectares of lands.
Zare said for the implementation of the project in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 2019), €150 million from the resources of the National Development Fund (NDF) and $119.04 million from the country’s annual budget have been allocated.
He noted that so far, the NDF has made available 20 percent of this fund, which would help equip up to 170,000 hectares of the country’s farmlands with such irrigation systems by March 2020.
“As stipulated in Iran’s Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), annually, 400,000 hectares of the country’s farmlands are required to be equipped with such systems. However, the annual target has been decreased to 250,000 hectares due to a shortage of financial resources. The actual annual fund currently provided is sufficient for implementing the project in up to 170,000 hectares of lands per year.”
Previously, he said, it was believed that only between three to four million hectares of Iranian farmlands are capable of being equipped with modern irrigation systems, adding, nevertheless, thanks to scientific and technological advances, it appears as if a major part of the country’s lands are suitable for using this method.
In 1990, a project started in the country to equip farmlands with sprinkler irrigation systems, Zare noted, saying that during 1990-2014, this irrigation method was used in 57 percent of Iranian lands.
“However, in the year to March 2019, the percentage dropped to 24 percent, indicating that we have been moving towards [promoting the use of] drip irrigation [systems].”
He announced that the fourth International Exhibition of Agriculture, Agricultural Machineries and Equipment, Inputs and Irrigation Systems (Iran Agri Show 2020) opens today at the Tehran International Permanent Fairgrounds and will continue until January 17.
Iran, Iraq discuss ways to continue trade without dollar
Iraq’s Ambassador to Iran Saad Jawad Qandil told Sputnik on Monday that Baghdad and Tehran were holding negotiations to continue trade cooperation without resorting to the US dollar, adding that Iraq did not consider the US sanctions imposed on Iran compliant with international law.
“To make relations not affected by US sanctions imposed on Iran, talks are underway to use local currencies,” Qandil said.
Iraq has been developing economic ties with Iran, despite US sanctions imposed on Tehran, in response to its attacks on the US military bases in Iraq on January 8, the ambassador added.
“Iraq is not part of the US sanctions regime against Iran and does not recognize its legitimacy. These sanctions do not have any legal cover at the level of international law,” the Iraqi ambassador said.
According to Qandil, the annual Iraqi-Iranian trade currently amounts to around $12 billion, and the countries’ leaders have agreed to increase this level to $20 billion.
Iran to lead Mideast in new pipeline addition
Iran is expected to contribute roughly 43 percent of the Middle East’s trunk line additions by 2023, Kallanish Energy reported on Monday.
According to GlobalData analysts, Iran is set to add 7,496 kilometers of new pipelines between 2020 and 2023. All the expected projects have already been granted required approvals.
“A total of 18 new-build pipelines are expected to start operations in Iran by 2023,” said analyst Adithya Rekha. “The Iranian Gas Trunk line, IGAT 9, is the longest upcoming pipeline in the country, with a length of 1,863km.”
The natural gas pipeline is expected to start flows in 2022. The infrastructure will be wholly-owned and operated by the National Iranian Gas Company.
Iraq should be the second-highest contributor to the region’s infrastructure growth, adding 3,775km. The onshore Basra-Aqaba gas pipeline is set to be the longest line, measuring 1,700km. The project is slated to come online in 2023.
Saudi Arabia ranks third, with plans to add some 1,824.8 km (1,134 miles) from nine upcoming pipelines. The onshore Haradh-Hawiyah gas pipeline, expected to start operations in 2021, is the longest project with a length of 450km.
All the largest pipelines in the countries will transport natural gas, showing the major oil-producing nations are expanding their activities towards the cleaner fossil fuel.
Chabahar port to raise warehouse capacity, standards
By construction of new warehouses along with renovating the existing ones, warehouse capacity and standards are planned to be elevated in Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar, according to the head of Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
Behrouz Aqaei said that given the programs of the country for imports of basic commodities, the capacities of warehouses in this port should be increased, pmo.ir reported.
The official put the cost of the project for renovating three multipurpose warehouses of the ports at about $12.8 million, to be provided through domestic sources of Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).
He also announced that two multipurpose warehouses are under construction in the port through the private sector’s investment and under build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts.
Last week, the chairman of the board of Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone Organization said his organization is in talks with foreign investors for financing the project for the construction of an international airport in the port city.
According to Abdolrahim Kordi, Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone Organization is going to invest about $131 million in the first phase of the mentioned project, which is expected to be completed within two years.
Although Iran has awarded the development project of this port to India, and the South Asian country committed $500 million to build two new berths in this port, several foreign countries are eager to contribute to the development of this strategic port.
Iran set the official selling price (OSP) of its light oil for its Asian buyers in February at a premium of $3.35 a barrel above the Oman/Dubai average, up 10 cents from the previous month, Reuters reported.